Ireland is Here to Stay, Bitter End for Zlatan

- Ireland is Here to Stay, Bitter End for Zlatan -
 

Ireland scored a late goal to defeat Italy 1-0 and advanced as one of the top four third placed teams. Belgium came away with a 1-0 victory and advanced from Group E behind Italy. Sweden's stay at Euro 2016 comes to an end along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's international career.

 

uefa euro 2016 - group stage (group e)

Italy 0 - 1 Ireland
Brady 85'

Italy played with a reserved starting eleven as they had already clinched first place in Group E. Ireland needed a win, and help from Belgium, to have hopes of advancing to the last 16. As expected, Ireland took possession of the game and looked for the opening goal, however the first half ended goalless. After a dull 30 minutes in the second half, Insigne came close to giving Italy the lead, but his shot hit the post and stayed out. Ireland had a golden opportunity with 7 minutes remaining when Hoolahan was in on-on-one with the goalie, but he was denied by the Italian keeper. One minute later, Ireland scored the goal they were looking for. Hoolahan made up for his missed opportunity by playing a perfectly placed in-swinging cross that was met by Brady’s head, giving Ireland the 1-0 lead and ultimately the victory. The win put Ireland third in Group E and they advanced to the Last 16 as one of the top four 3rd placed teams, leaving Turkey out. Despite finishing first in Group E, Italy will face Spain in the last 16 while Ireland will play against the hosts France.


uefa euro 2016 - group stage (group e)

Sweden 0 - 1 Belgium
Nainggolan 84'

Like Ireland, Sweden needed all three points to advance to the Last 16, as a draw would ensure Belgium second place in Group E. The best chance of the half fell to Panathinaikos’ striker Marcus Berg, but he was denied by Courtois. A late chance from Belgium went to waste and the teams went into the break goalless. In the second half, both teams had chances to find an opener before Belgium secured their place in the Last 16 with a tremendous long-range strike from Nainggolan in the 84th minute. The goal was enough to give Belgium all three points and second place in Group E. In the last 16, they will face the first placed team from Group F, Hungary. With the loss, Sweden is eliminated from Euro 2016 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s international career comes to an end. The Swedish superstar announced his retirement from the national team during the tournament after a great career with his country. 

 
Image Source: theguardian.com
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